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Plans to move rail line further out to sea

An artist's image from Network Rail

Proposals to move a rail line further away from the cliffs in South Devon have been unveiled by Network Rail.

A five-week consultation starts today after the rail line collapse for six weeks in 2014 at Dawlish.

The proposal would see the line moved further away from the cliff on a 1.8km stretch between Parsons Tunnel, near Holcombe, and Teignmouth.

There'll be a series of public meetings about the plans across Dawlish, Holcombe, Teignmouth, Exeter, Newton Abbot and Torquay.

Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail's Western route, said: "The 1.8km stretch of railway between Parsons Tunnel, near Holcombe, and Teignmouth, which was closed for six weeks following a landslide in 2014, needs to be better protected from cliff falls, land slips and damage caused by the sea during extreme weather. 

"The cliffs pose the greatest threat to the railway line in this location, so the proposals include moving the railway away from the sections of cliff that pose the greatest hazard.

"The design would require some land reclamation to allow a buttress (a sloping rock structure to stabilise the cliffs and protect the railway) to be built. 

"To protect the realigned railway from the sea, a rock revetment or enhanced sea wall will also be required to absorb the energy of the waves and allow for the railway to be relocated away from the cliffs.

"The proposals also include enhanced leisure access, cycling and walking routes and new amenity areas so that users of Holcombe beach continue to enjoy the space and views of the Devon coastline.

"Residents and interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the proposals to help finalise the designs. 

"Starting in Newton Abbot today, 10 consultation events in and around the local area will enable people to find out more, ask questions and express their views. 

"It is possible to respond to the consultation online, by email or in writing via a freepost feedback form.

"These proposals will protect the railway for generations to come, but we listened to public feedback to the original concepts in 2016 and have worked hard to minimise the impact on Holcombe beach and incorporate new and improved amenities such as cycling and foot paths.

"The railway is a vital artery to the South West, which communities, businesses and visitors to the region depend on for connecting with the ­rest of the UK so we really want to hear views on our updated proposals to allow us to refine them further before we apply for consent to undertake the work."

"Following the consultation, all responses will be analysed, and Network Rail will incorporate the feedback into updated plans which will be publicised through a second round of consultation this autumn."

For more details click here

Click play to hear Network Rail's Dean Shaw speaking to reporter Andrew Kay

List of consultation events

  • Dawlish  - Dawlish Town council office The Manor House Old Town Street Dawlish EX7 9AP Tuesday 11th June – Council Chamber Monday 24th June – Mayors Parlour 12pm - 4pm 4pm - 8pm
  • Holcombe - Holcombe (Village Hall) Holcombe, Dawlish EX7 0JT Thursday 13th June Thursday 27th June 2pm - 6pm 4pm - 8pm
  • Teignmouth Teignmouth Town Council Bitton House, Teignmouth TQ14 9DF Wednesday 12th June Wednesday 26th June 12pm - 4pm 4pm - 8pm
  • Exeter - Exeter Community Centre 17 St. Davids Hill, Exeter EX4 3RG Tuesday 25th June 4pm - 8pm
  • Newton Abbot - The Avenue Church The Avenue, Newton Abbot TQ12 2BY Monday 10th June Saturday 29th June 1pm - 5pm 12pm - 4pm
  • Torquay- The Windmill Centre Pendennis Rd, Torquay TQ2 7QR Friday 28th June

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